BNB9: Driving The Week

Tennessee Community Groups Warn of HCA’s Impact in Attempted Acquisition

This past week, a number of community groups have sounded the alarm over HCA’s bid to purchase Northcrest Health, a non-profit hospital chain near Springfield Tennessee. In a letter to Attorney General Slattery, they raised serious concerns over HCA’s chronic understaffing and overcharging practices. HCA’s Nashville hospitals charge on average 9.8 times the cost of the services they provide, 67% more than the state average in Tennessee. These sky-high charges come despite the fact that in 2019, HCA staffing levels lagged the national average by nearly one third.
The impact of HCA’s poor workplace and patient care standards have been stark for hospitals they have recently purchased. When HCA took over Mission Health in North Carolina, 16 physicians fled the hospital in the year following the purchase. “All that we got was having to work harder with less,” one employee said of HCA’s takeover. After HCA began managing the facility, Mission’s Leapfrog Safety grade was downgraded from an “A”, reflecting a decrease in standards also reported in a number of disturbing patient stories. Serious concerns around HCA’s impact on quality of care have resulted in Attorney General intervention in North Carolina.